Concordia Means “Harmony”!

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I’m posting one last blog on my experience at the convention.  Five weeks is enough!  I can’t

Woman gesturing while quarreling with her partner

wrap this up, however, without talking about emotional wellbeing.  The greatest portion of our emotional upset, I’m convinced, comes from broken relationships.  My friends in counseling tell me that most of what they do is coach people through relational hurt: conflict, misunderstanding, and bitterness that leads to anger.

I think most of us in the LCMS are concerned about the emotional state of our church.Way back in my days at Concordia, Portland, we used to gather by the Cornerstone in the Quad quartetand sing (in perfect four part barbershop style), “Concordia means… harmony, harmony, Harmony, HARMONY!”  That little ditty rings in my ears often.

The convention showed that there certainly are issues that divide us.  Even thought the vast majority of resolutions passed with resounding majorities, there are a few issues over which we are divided.

I have fond recollections of the ministry team I served with at Peace in Saginaw, Michigan.  If you gather three pastors, a musicians, a DCE, a school administrator and other support staff in a room, there will be disagreements.  Sometimes Ed, our senior pastor, had to make the call.  Sometimes he deferred the decision to those of us more closely connected to the specific ministry under discussion.

ALWAYS, we were committed to unity as the body of Christ.  Whether Ed made the call or disagreed with us, but showed his trust in our judgment, we always, together, in harmony, left the room united.  “Yes, that’s our decision.”

We gathered regularly to continue the conversation and debate, but we left Ed’s office in Working_Togetherharmony.  Most things we largely agreed on.  Sometimes we disagreed, but always recognized that for the sake of the ministry, we would work together in harmony.

We are Concordia.  Despite our confusion or misunderstanding regarding God’s will and purpose among us, we moved forward, by grace, and continued the conversation.

Ephesians 4:2 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the  bond of peace.”  Sometimes it takes quite an effort.

Our staff team never debated the essentials of our beliefs.  What a treasure our confessional theology is!  How we applied that faith and sought to reach out with the love of Christ in church and school, in outreach and education, in youth ministry and senior ministry, was always up for debate.

I frankly don’t remember many of the debates.  I do remember how the harmony on our team lifted the entire level of emotional wellbeing among us and among the members of the congregation.

I pray that for our our church, and for your ministry.

Thanks for reading.

A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.

2 thoughts on “Concordia Means “Harmony”!

  1. Patricia Tyler Zanta

    Thank you so much for your refreshing e-mail! I served as a teacher in LCMS schools for 29 years and was saddened by the disharmony I encountered. Your experience at Peace-Saginaw makes me wonder if you served with my mom’s cousin, Rev. Ed Pankow. The team harmony approach makes me think of him and our Swiss heritage! I will continue to pray for more Concordia in our Synod. Thank you so much for your ministry!

  2. Patricia Tyler Zanta

    P.S.-I am thankful to share the Gospel as a First Grade teacher in a Christian school, a mission of a Presbyterian congregation!

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